ALPENA, Mich. — Alpena High School’s athletic fields are just one location where geese have been leaving behind a mess of feathers and droppings.
City officials have tried to implement cardboard cutouts of dogs to keep these birds away, but Building Official Donald Gilmet says without someone constantly moving them around, they are ineffective at keeping the geese away. “The cardboard cutouts of dogs and coyotes and things like that, they’re really not effective unless someone has time to keep moving them around,” he said. “You also have to remember that when you just move geese from point A because that’s where you live, you’re putting them at point B and then it just becomes someone else’s problem.”
Some members of the community have voiced their displeasure with the goose hunt, calling it an inhumane way to deal with the problem. Gilmet explained they have two hunting groups made up of city employees and experienced hunters. He says they will only take smart shots in order to dispatch the birds as humanely as possible. “I understand that to some people it may seem cruel or inhumane or it’s like you’re just walking up and shooting a pet. Nothing could be farther from the truth,” said Gilmet. “We try to make sure that we have people that don’t get too excited and shoot at long ranges and, you know, wound the geese to where they’re back in the water swimming around crippled. We try to make sure that any geese that are shot at are actually dispatched.”
Concerning what to do with the geese that are killed, Gilmet says nothing will go to waste. “Nothing’s thrown away. Some people think they’re just thrown in the dumpster. They’re not. They’re all eaten by the hunters or their families. So, nothing goes to waste,” he said.
The hunt will take place on Sep. 3 at Mich-e-ke-wis Park and the County Fairgrounds, beginning at daylight and running until 1 p.m. During this time, the lakeshore area of Mich-e-ke-wis Park and the Bi–Path behind the water treatment plant and along the river at the fairgrounds will be closed to the public.